The BOE is a nonpartisan election. The candidates are:
• Kurt Cornett, who said he is running for a school board seat to improve his community and because he believes education is the foundation of great communities.
Cornett’s work experience is in construction, development and real estate, and he earned a bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University as well as multiple certifications in the construction industry.
“I have held numerous supervisory and management positions, and most recently I have become an officer for Odom Construction Systems Inc.,” Cornett said. “In addition to the positions that I have held, I am also an owner and manager of a small real estate investment company. I feel that my previous work experiences have provided me with a solid foundation in business and financial management while also teaching me the importance of opportunity and communication.”
Cornett said he chose to serve Hawkins County’s education system because he believes it is important to children, the community and our future.
“I believe that the product of better education is better students, better citizens, better employees, better business, better communities and a better quality of life,” Cornett said. “I am a proactive, ambitious, results-oriented individual, and I take the responsibility of serving on the school board seriously. I believe that I can make a positive impact and be a contributing member of the board. I believe that school board members should be ambassadors, representing the school board, the taxpayers, the children.”
If elected, his goal is to show measurable continuous improvement in the overall scores of the students, the quality of the education and programs, the development and abilities of the faculty and staff, and the management and balancing of the budget.
• Kathy Cradic, who said she decided to seek re-election because she has enjoyed serving the students and the taxpayers, and she hopes to continue to do so. She was appointed to the board in 2005, elected in 2006, and is seeking her second full term.
“I feel that the school board has made many positive contributions to the way our young people are educated in Hawkins County and to our school buildings and facilities,” Cradic said. “I have an understanding of the role the school board plays within the school system. I am committed to the education of our youth, and I feel that I have treated every situation with fairness and honesty.”
Cradic is employed as office manager and administrative assistant in the private practice of Hawkins County Juvenile Court Judge James Taylor. She earned a legal administrative assistant certification from Tennessee Tech and has taken courses in budgeting and accounting.
Cradic also achieved Level 3 Boardsmanship training on the BOE, which requires attending at least 28 school board academies for courses and training.
Among Cradic’s top priorities on the BOE are to increase graduation levels at the three high schools.
“I am proud of the students in our county,” Cradic said. “They are intelligent and talented. I think the hard work and dedication of the parents, school employees and the school board have helped our students to accomplish many things.
“I would like to be part of watching and helping our school system become the best in the state.”
• Dewey Crigger, who said he is interested in county government, and he was encouraged to run for the school board by friends and family.
He is a graduate of Surgoinsville High School, retired from an ambulance service, and has attended many county meetings. Crigger said he decided it was time for him to run.
“I’ve done a lot of door-to-door campaigning, and I think that’s the way to go,” Crigger said. “I think I’ll be able to fit right in. I know a lot of people who are on the board now. I know the school superintendent, who I went to school with.”
If elected he said a top priority will be living within the budget.
“It’s economic crunch time here in Hawkins County,” Crigger said. “Our elderly people can’t afford a tax increase, and now the middle people can’t afford one. It’s tough, and I believe you live within your means.
“If that means cut, then you cut. A lot of counties have cut, and then some of our cities raised taxes, and it just puts a strain on everybody. Hold the budget where it’s at and even cut it if you have to.”